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Baseline BS

I didn’t watch all of the debate last night, but I did watch a significant portion of an apoplectic, left-wing MSNBC traversing the stages of grief over Barack Obama’s performance. Among such gems as the absurd theory that Obama had lost on purpose to remain “likeable” was an abuse of logic that takes baseline budgeting and phony, static analysis to a new level.

MSNBC’s hosts actually argued that Mitt Romney’s refusal to increase taxes Obama will increase if reelected is a tax cut for “the wealthy.” How, you ask, do they make this claim? (note: this discussion is about the Bush tax rates, not Romney or Obama’s long-term goals). Will the tax rate on the wealthiest individuals go down? No, making the Bush-era cuts permanent means the tax rate stays the same. So how on earth does this equal a cut for the wealthy? It all depends on where you’re measuring from.

For the MSNBC hosts, the baseline is whatever Obama wants. Failure to tax people as much as Obama wants to tax them equals a tax cut. Barack Obama would increase taxes on “the wealthy.” Romney would maintain the rates as they are now. In other words, Mitt Romney would fail to raise the rates on the individuals Obama would like to tax more. Therefore, by the power of ignoring reality and substituting liberal fantasy: Mitt Romney has magically cut taxes for millionaires and billionaires without changing a single line of the tax code. Amazing!

And suddenly, it kind of makes sense that Biden might ask, “How in the lord’s name can they justify raising their [middle class] taxes with these tax cuts?”

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